As the federal government shutdown enters its second day, most local communities are expecting to feel little to no impact.
But the shutdown itself still looms in a few ways for the Macomb area, as 10 full-time equipment technicians based at the Illinois National Guard Armory in Macomb are among those hit locally. Chief Warrant Officer Jason Goddard reported Tuesday morning that he and nine other technicians were awaiting a call from their command center office in Springfield before clearing out.
"We're just in here this morning and filling up supplies, making sure the refrigerators are empty, that sort of thing," Goddard said.
The equipment technicians, whose salaries are federally funded during the week and state-funded on the weekends when they train, support three units in Macomb and two that are based in Galesburg.
"We are the force that supports the weekend guys," Goddard said about their duties, which include maintaining and preparing more than 180 pieces of rolling stock, such as trucks and Humvees, for weekend trainings.
The equipment technicians have already been impacted by federal budget problems. In July, several months after the sequestration went into effect, they were forced to take one day off a week without pay for six weeks.
"We'll do what we have to do to make ends meet," Goddard said. "We're just like any other families out there without a paycheck."
Families, women and children receiving SNAP, or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, benefits will not immediately be impacted by the shutdown.
But a spokesperson for the Illinois Department of Human Services, which administers SNAP benefits, says the shutdown's effects might be felt soon.
"It is possible that after October the program could run out of money because of the shutdown," said Tom Green, director of the IDHS's Office of Communications. "So there's no new funding coming in, but we do have funding to keep it going through October."
According to Green, two million people in Illinois receive SNAP benefits. In McDonough County, 3,755 people are served by SNAP. The monthly cost of serving McDonough County alone is $480,455.
Another federally funded nutrition program, WIC, which is designed to assist certain categories of women, infants and children, could also be impacted in the near future if the shutdown doesn't end soon.
"We have enough for less than a month," said Green of the WIC funding. "After that, we'll have to look for other ways to fund the program."
Another nutritional program funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Child Nutrition Programs, which include school lunches and breakfasts, might be affected. According to Regional Superintendent John Meixner, those programs have funding to continue operations well into October.
Page 2 of 3 - If the shutdown lasts more than a month school districts will stop receiving reimbursements for meals served to students.
The impact of the federal government shutdown has also impacted contract negotiations between the Macomb School District teachers union and Macomb Board of Education.
Terry Krehbiel, chair of the Macomb Education Association, said talks are on hold because the federal mediator working with both parties has been furloughed.
Krehbiel said an initial meeting with the federal mediator had been scheduled for Monday, Oct 7. That meeting has been put on hold indefinitely.
Teachers in the school district are currently working without a contract; the previous two-year agreement expired with the start of the school year.
Head Start programs
Local Early Head Start and Head Start federal programs, which provide early education and social services to children from birth to age 5, will not be impacted by the shutdown, according the assistant director of PACT (Parent & Child Together) for West Central Illinois.
Shanna Edison said PACT's Head Start programs in McDonough, Cass, Hancock, Schuyler, Pike, Scott, Brown and rural Adams counties are under a July 1-June 30 grant cycle and funds have already been received.
"Our operations for PACT for West Central Illinois are operations as usual," Edison said. "We have always had a July 1 grant year and that hasn't changed in the 13 years that I've been here."
According to PACT for West Central Illinois' 2011-12 annual report, 353 children in the counties served received Head Start services and 211 children received Early Head Start services.
Children in Head Start programs with a grant cycle that started Tuesday, or Oct. 1, will be impacted by the shutdown. Edison said an estimated 20,000 children nationwide lost their services on Tuesday.
City of Macomb
The city's of Macomb's extended census will be delayed until the government shutdown ceases, causing a delay to the study which already was slated to be complete in the spring.
Macomb had implemented a special census count as an attempt to document a higher count of residents in the Western Illinois University area and in areas occupied by large nursing homes and retirement centers.
"We're hoping the census doesn't have a significant delay," said Mayor Mike Inman. "It's just that much longer until those numbers will be reported to us. That's a delay in getting those final numbers and a delay in what we believe may be more dollars to the city."
Fortunately, the shutdown will not affect the Federal Emergency Management Agency grant funds the city anticipates receiving because of flooding damage earlier this year, according to a representative Inman spoke with.
Page 3 of 3 - One grant is still expected to play a key role in getting the clearwell pipeline project online in time for winter construction on a water line at the northwest bypass site.
Despite the lack of funds the city would receive, Inman said, the city's reserves should prove plentiful to survive the monetary deficit.
Staff Reporter Nick Draper contributed to this report.